In a welcome surprise for Israeli consumers, e-commerce giant Amazon launched free international shipping to Israel for orders of eligible products on Monday, and also unveiled a comprehensive Hebrew-language version of its website.Urging consumers to look for items displaying “FREE Shipping to Israel,” Amazon said international orders “with at least $49 of eligible items and shipping to an address in Israel qualify for Free International Shipping.” A large banner spanned the top of the website welcoming Israeli consumers read: “Now available – FREE Shipping to Israel.”The retail giant’s shipping offer is likely to be temporary, however, with the timing suggesting a response to Singles’ Day, the annual Chinese online shopping blitz on Monday, and to compete with Black Friday sales on November 29.Amazon will also now enable users to use its global website in Hebrew, with an increasing number of products providing descriptions and details in Hebrew. The website can already be viewed in seven languages, including English, Chinese, German and Korean.“We are constantly innovating on behalf of our customers, and together with the launch today, we are making the shopping experience for our Israeli customers and Hebrew-speakers even better and more convenient,” said Samir Kumar, vice president of Amazon Exports and Expansion. “Customers requested a shopping experience in Hebrew, with access to items available for shipment to them and in their local currency. Supporting the Hebrew-language [site] and free shipping benefits to Israeli customers simplifies the browsing, purchasing and shipping of millions of items.”International orders from Amazon will still be subject to local import laws and regulations. According to personal import rules published by the Israel Tax Authority, there are currently no import duties for goods valued under $75. Purchase tax and VAT may be applicable to personal imports totaling up to $500.Consignments of goods with a total value exceeding $500 are subject to all taxes, in addition to purchase tax where relevant.Amazon officially commenced operations in Israel in September, offering local delivery to customers from a range of Israeli brands. The long-awaited website launch, initially in English, offered its Local Delivery program to professional sellers with inventory in Israel who offer standard shipping of three to five days transit time, or faster.Even after the launch of the global Hebrew website, Israeli consumers logging onto the Amazon website are met by leading local sellers, offering electronics, clothing, kitchen products and other consumer items. Shoppers are also able to buy local brands at prices listed in shekels.To ship products locally to Israeli customers, Amazon will enable sellers to handle deliveries via their preferred carriers. To ship products to US customers, sellers will be able to use the company’s “Fulfillment by Amazon” (FBA) program or handle international shipping themselves using the carrier of their choice.Amazon announced last month that net sales increased 24% to $70 billion in the third quarter of 2019, compared with $56.6b. during the corresponding period last year.